FRANCE: Little Moscow

Several months ago, a well-dressed young man called on a woman real estate agent in the small town of Bazainville near Paris, seeking, he explained, a house and grounds suitable for his aged parents. Something nice and quiet, said the young man, adding: "Price means nothing to me." Impressed, the agent showed M. Riviere a large house, somewhat run-down —its porch sagged and its roof leaked—but basically sound and set in seven fine acres of vineyard and orchard. A working-class family named Dupuis with five children lived there rent-free.

M. Riviere liked the place and set just one condition. "The...

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